In the whole of life on this earth, there is only one question that you must be concerned about. Nothing else really matters - Not money, not sex, not drugs, not pleasure, not comfort, not vacation time, not power, not promotions at work, not anything else. If we can't answer yes to this question without hesitation and without doubt, then you and I MUST reorient our lives accordingly. The penalty for not answering yes to this question is great; that is, being trapped forever in the fires of hell, along with the worst of the worst who ever lived. Everybody already in heaven answered yes to this question while they were alive on earth, albeit with different degrees of effort.
To answer yes to this question, we must carry on a daily conversation with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Creator. Conversation is not just asking Him for stuff. Conversation is a two way street. So how does Jesus talk to us? Through His Word in the Bible. Jesus IS the Word made flesh, after all. By reading and studying Him through His Word, we begin to see what He expects of us, and it is not fornication, lust, gluttony, greed, abortion, anger, etc. Rather, it is humility, purity, meekness, love, kindness, etc., EVEN TO THOSE WE DON'T LIKE. He forgave His torturers and murderers from the cross; He expects no less of us. And after reading His Word, then we pray to Jesus about our life, about our needs, and always with thanksgiving, adoration, and contrition for our many sins, thus completing the conversation.
An Olympic athlete doesn't just show up at the Games and say "Here I am". Rather, he or she practices 8 or 9 hours a day to get a piece of gold, silver, or bronze. They deny themselves many pleasures of life for years in order to subdue their bodies and to polish their particular talent. We as followers of Jesus Christ should do no less in our pursuit of heaven, which is worth much more than gold, silver, or bronze. After all, EVERYONE in heaven is a saint. Do we really think that we can attain heaven if we "just show up" and say "Here I am"? Jesus Christ Himself said that "not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father" (Matthew 7:21). Therefore, we MUST DO HIS WILL and not jut sit around and go with the flow of secular society. G.K Chesterton once said that only dead bodies float with the current; it takes live ones to swim upstream. So look alive already!! In Matthew 22:11-14, we learn that we can't get into heaven if we don't have the proper wedding garment (holiness):
"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen."
St. John Vianney once said
"If people would do for God what they do for the world, what a great number of Christians would go to Heaven!"
And ain't it the truth! People in this world travel thousands of miles in numerous countries to attain personal wealth, attend sporting events, and for personal pleasure. People suffer mightily starting up new businesses. We, as adopted sons and daughters of the King of Kings, are royalty in Heaven, and we need to start acting like it NOW while we are alive on earth. After all, Jesus has already established His Kingdom here on earth in Matthew 16:19. Jesus said that whatever we do for the poor, we do to Him (Matthew 25:40). How many of us ignore the poor (and thus ignore Jesus) and hope that they just go away and leave us alone so that we can get back to our big screen TVs and the big game?
So what exactly is this one big question that we need to be concerned about?
IS JESUS REALLY YOUR LORD AND MASTER?
And if the answer is yes, do you act like it? Do you really know Jesus, or do you just know "about" Jesus? Are you really a Catholic and set apart from the world? John 14:30 talks about Satan being the ruler of this world. To overcome him, do you meditate on the Passion of Jesus daily, especially through the Holy Rosary? If Jesus is your Lord and Master, do you try to receive Him into your body by attending daily Mass and daily Communion as often as possible? Do you try to help the poor as much as possible? Do you pray for your enemies? What kind of books do you read, and what kind of movies do you watch? Do you subdue your body like Paul did (1 Corinthians 9:27) so that you can cut yourself loose from the weight of this world? How often do you pray silently during the day, asking your Lord and Master to increase your faith and give you more grace to endure suffering? Do you TOTALLY trust Jesus to take care of you no matter what, or do you trust more in your pocketbook, your ingenuity, and your smarts? Do you realize that Jesus is sending you suffering to strengthen you and to test you to see if you really love him, or are you just going through the motions and paying Him lip service?
Matthew 15:8: "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me"
Look, no one is perfect, and no one can do all of the above things at once, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that you are making an initial effort to disassociate ourselves from the things of this world, and are trying to move, however gradual, toward the things of the next world, our real home. The more you make the effort to do the above things through prayer and sacrifice, the easier it becomes to do them all. In fact, Jesus will make them second nature to us if we only ask Him for that gift! Christians are like aliens in a strange land here on earth, because what we value is not valuable to the world. The world values riches, unlimited sex, pleasure, pride, etc., and those things are anathema to Christians who value the message of the cross - Our supreme sacrifice for the good of others. Jesus Himself in Revelation 3:16 warns us all about being lukewarm to him:
"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth."
It is recommended that you ask yourself this one question daily, especially during times of trouble, but also during the good times. The more you answer yes to this question, the more satan will flee from you, and the closer Mother Mary will get to you, and that is a very GREAT thing, because, as Gabriel said, "The Lord IS with thee"! Jesus told us all in John 15:9:
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love."
So that means that Jesus loves each and every one of us as much as His Father, Our Father, loved Him. So now that you know that, what will your response be? Business as usual with your life, or a renewed commitment to know God, love God, and serve God in this life, so that you can be happy with Him in the next life?